Following the heinous easter bombings that killed more than 250 people, Sri Lankan officials have put forth a ban of ‘all face coverings’. Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena gave the following reason in a statement on Sunday: "The ban is to ensure national security ... No one should obscure their faces to make identification difficult."
It is legislation that is not even trying to make sense. This is the picture of one of the easter bombers moments before the attacks.
As is clear to see he has not even covered his face.
More importantly, extensive government surveillance in a class society cannot bring security. The ban of ‘all face coverings’ means state repression on protests and activists on the one hand, but mainly it is directed against the 2 million Muslims and Muslims living on the Island. It is a ban of the face veil, the Burkha and the Niquab and therefore an harsh attack at the womens rights. We see clearly that the attack now happened in Sri Lanka is being used to implement new repression laws against the population.
Such forms of oppression against Muslim women have a long tradition. Back in the day, the colonizers like the French in Algeria performed public unveiling, and today the veil is banned in many European countries in one form or the other. It is presented as something progressive, as a step towards liberation for Muslim women, but in its core it is truly reactionary. In effect it bans Muslim women from working and leaving the house if they don’t assimilate completely, it is an attack against the democratic right of religious freedom and a racist tool to split the masses. Sri Lanka is the best example for this. Because the island state is only built on the land of oppressed nations - be it the Muslims, the Christians, the Tamils or the Sinhalese - it needs to create a distraction from the common enemy, from imperialism.
That is why they need to install Sinhalese-Buddhist supremacy, to use chauvinism to prevent an united struggle. That is why, after the latest events, all the “western” ruling classes have again taken up the chant “Muslims against Christians” in unity. It has washed clean again the anti-Muslim racism that showed a small glimpse of its true face in the recent Christchurch attacks. The terror against the people is nothing that is “inherent in Islamic culture”, it is first of all produced by the imperialists, directly or indirectly. The main contradiction today is between Imperialists and oppressed nations and peoples. Therefore, the people of Sri Lanka too will sooner or later end their differences, not because of some “western progressiveness”, but because of the conscious decision to unite against imperialism.